Magnificent Alaska

By: Dennis Mammana


Region: Polar Regions

Site: Denali National Park - Alaska - USA

Date: 2002 March 23

Comments: 1

Aurora Borealis over the World Heritage Site of Denali National Park, Alaska, USA. As explained by the photographer "At dusk on March 23, 2002 the sky erupted with an amazing display of the aurora borealis—the northern lights. These waves of color danced above the moonlit Talkeetna Mountains southeast of Alaska’s Denali National Park, and produced a remarkable night of sky watching. The scene was so expansive that it required seven overlapping wide-angle photos digitally stitched together to capture it all. Along with the gibbous moon and the bright planet Jupiter, constellations visible include Leo, Orion, Taurus and Perseus. In addition, just above the mountains and behind the light green plume on the right appears Comet Ikeya-Zhang. Seven segments shot with made by a Canon F-1 camera, Provia 400F slide film, 24mm f/1.4L lens, and seven 12-second exposures at f/2 (estimated). All images scanned, processed and stitched together. This required a lot of work to stitch properly. This scene required more than 700 pairs of control points, and 4 days of nearly continuous work to get it right. The aurora change quickly and it is not easy to make such panorama of a moving target. That night it was all over the sky. With only one camera set up I had to take an exposure, move the camera, shoot another, etc. as quickly as I could. That night I had shot over 17 rolls of film before it even got dark, so I was able to find one (and only one!) sequence of seven that captured the aurora properly." Dennis Mammana/

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